The title may be a misnomer – the revolution is already well under way, digital is mainstream and is everywhere. All aspects of our lives now contain some hint of digital. From grocery shopping, weather forecasts and transport to every facet of entertainment, there is some part of it that relies on and benefits from digital connectivity.
For younger generations, this is the norm – those born since the mid-nineties have not known a world without the World Wide Web. Children born in the last 10 years have grown up with the sum of all human knowledge at their fingertips. For those of us who were born in earlier times and who have seen these changes happening, it is an unfamiliar concept to try to hold to.
We may wax lyrical about the time before digital but let us not allow this to distract from what is in the here and now. Broadband speed and quality has been added to the list of essentials to check when moving house, not just gas, water and electricity. Digital has allowed us to enhance what we as humans have always done – communicate, collaborate and create.
Education is a sector that has not been the quickest to embrace digital technology – but it is now catching up and fast. Many educational establishments are using online learning platforms for schools as standard and interactive whiteboards are increasingly found in every classroom from primary school upwards. The children being taught today are already as savvy with this tech as their teachers and all levels of education must keep up with the pace of development or risk being seen as irrelevant by their students – it’s a difficult enough task to hold a classroom’s attention without this added burden.
This is why digital learning platforms and more specifically virtual learning environments are key to giving educators the best opportunities to engage and teach their students. There are things that a digital education platform can just do better than a traditional one. Channels for communication between student and teacher are part of the package and this is paramount when so much of a teacher’s time is taken away from students with non-teaching duties. Completed work is instantly accessible to teachers without students having to physically hand it in – all backed up and safe from hungry dogs. Dynamic digital learning platforms allow instant feedback for students with adaptive learning to give help where and when it’s needed. They also allow for seamless changes to the learning material and presentation for teachers. And don’t forget all that human knowledge can be embedded in most online learning platforms for schools as well as external links created to whet the appetites of the more curious so they can explore further.
More specifically for those teaching filmmaking – digital really does have to be the platform of choice. Get your students used to working this way from the very start – after all, almost every part of filmmaking happens in a digital environment, the only analogue parts happen in front of the camera.
If anything, during the past twenty years, teachers have tried and failed to stop pupils bringing their phones to school, but the tech tide is turning. Even early years classrooms are kitted out with laptops and tablets for toddlers. Not long ago, schools started providing pupils with laptops and tablets they could take home; now pupils can bring their own to school. So how can we maximise the benefits of Bring Your Own Device’ education?
Reduce distraction, improve focus
The risk of using laptops or tablets in class- whether they were brought in by the student or provided by the school- is how much of a distraction they can prove to be. The internet is full of wonders like YouTube, Facebook and Reddit that are time-sinks for students and professionals alike. Before you introduce BYOD in classrooms, make sure that you’re prepared for this by blocking access to certain websites or Apps that are more trouble in the classroom than they’re worth. Yes- even if it means that you can’t go on Facebook during class! We know full well that you do…
Make your classes interactive and media-driven
If your school is truly intent on making BYOD a success, one way of taking advantage of this is to move away from old fashioned lectures and tests. BYOD in schools gives you the opportunity to tailor your classes to every student by making them interactive and media driven, so that they can follow along and learn at their own pace. For younger children, media in class can help their imaginations run riot, and it keeps older children engaged through self-managed learning too. Using a VLE, Prezi or similar is a great way to achieve this and avoid a ‘one speed fits all’ approach.
Encourage pupils to do their own research
With the whole Web at their fingertips, you can set your pupils assignments in class that they can research for themselves. Not only does this teach learners to study and research on their own, which is great preparation for higher education, but it gives them the opportunity to personalise their learning. Let’s say that as a History teacher, you ask each pupil to research something interesting about the Roman Empire: maybe one thinks that gladiators were cool (and they were!), but maybe another is more interested in the frankly excessive Roman pantheon of gods. BYOD can let each pupil learn about what they want individually and then share with rest of the group.
When you look into a classroom today, it can often seem like traditional learning methods are nowhere to be found. New technologies and educational services allow students to turn away from encyclopedias and experience an immersive, interactive and accessible education. From tablets to 3D-printers, here are some of the ways the digital age is reshaping education.
1 – Paper is a thing of the past
According to Professor Neil Selwyn of Montash University, textbooks will disappear from the classroom within a decade. A growing number of teachers are opting to expand learning into a digital atmosphere by providing students with tablets and computers in the place of traditional reading materials. Students today use tablets, computers, digital blackboards and even their phones to educate themselves. Not only does the transfer to digital education benefit the environment, but it expands educational boundaries so students can continue to learn outside the classroom.
2 – ‘Flipped education’ is the learning of the future
Besides allowing students to access educational sources at home, incorporating digital technology in the classroom also helps revolutionise ways of learning. By allowing students to interact with their learning materials, you teach them to actively seek knowledge instead of just passively consume information from a teacher. This turns students into independent learners who can use their internet at home to continue learning.
3 – Digital education benefits parents too
It’s almost certain that with evolving education policies, parents sometimes struggle with helping their children at home, whether it’s with homework or class projects. Introducing digital learning in your classroom will help parents and guardians of your students have access to their children’s courses as well, which will allow them to provide full support at home.
4 – Digital learning does not limit itself to Wikipedia
Turning to digital education doesn’t mean surrendering strong academia for sources like Wikipedia. There is a world of digital platforms available via the internet that allow your students to have a well-rounded and expansive education. Students can use the web and a growing number of social networks not only to converse with other students across the globe but also to access information that might not be readily available to them through and other academic platforms, which will only add to the education they are receiving in a classroom.
As far as digital learning has come, it is sure to expand in the next few years. With advances in 3D and virtual reality technology, it’s possible to see a future where students can experience and see what they’re learning within the comfort of their school or home. By adopting digital learning and embracing the wonders the internet brings to education, the sense of ‘classroom’ is at the students’ fingertips.
Few education professionals would deny that a revolution in teaching has started relatively recently, or at least within living memory… and it has continued to accelerate relentlessly until we find ourselves now smack in the middle of the most exciting and progressively evolving time in the history of education and learning. Stepping back and tracing where we’ve come from and stand now in the midst of this change provides some clues for the future and how we can take full advantage of the new approaches, technics, and tools spreading through the education world. Keeping up is standing still. Anticipating, preparing and embracing what’s next will ensure our students’ future success.
We’re all familiar with the so-called ‘traditional classroom’ model of institutionalised education with its rows of desks, teacher lecturing at a blackboard/whiteboard, homework exercise books and huge final exams. Many are also familiar with the outright inappropriateness this model offered a huge minority of learners with faster or slower abilities and aptitudes. Bored and under-challenged students were underserved by teachers pre-occupied with the troublemakers, and slower students were also neglected and discouraged by inevitable exam failures. Its a rigid and grim image which nonetheless spewed out billions of schoolchildren with wildly varying degrees of success for centuries.
The thing that’s changed of course, as it has changed every aspect of our waking lives, is online. The digital revolution since the 70’s and 80’s heated up with the Web in the 90’s and Social and Mobile in the naughties. Riding the tide of these society-changing waves has led a few luminaries to utterly rethink what’s possible in education to fulfil the dream of EVERY student receiving the same: optimised learning paths which ensure we’re all equipped to become our best-actualised selves during school years and for the rest of our lives.
As with any societal shift, the advent of Modern Learning Systems is neither easy or smooth, with pitfalls and the occasional wrong turn along the way. However, unstoppable technical trends and growing ecosystem of effortless, almost invisible technologies will continue to change education in the following key ways:
• Learner engagement evolves from just :
|Classtime and desktop access||
always on, 24/7, in pocket, just-a-touch-away, informal, multi-speed, multi-platform and social… learning
|What it means for you:||increasingly expect to be less the teacher and more the coach and guide for their learning through this new knowledge wonderscape.|
- Both students and teachers have access to tools growing from:
|Simple search and email notifications||
|Browse Catalogs, Faceted Search, Individual Development Plans, Dynamic Recommendations, Learning Paths, Learner/Manager Dashboards, Email/Text/Mobile Notifications, Ratings and Reviews, Badges/Leaderboards|
|What it means for you:||Limitless possibilities to make your teaching smarter, and your students’ learning self-driven, social and boundless… with better results.|
- Learning Content and managing it has evolved from:
|Simple, rapid authoring tools, SCORM, instructor-led||
|Sophisticated authoring tools with media library and testing functions and management of that content available through any device. Content is part of learning and workflow management tools including ongoing review|
|What it means for you:||Easily publish and share your course’s knowledge with your students, automatically testing and accrediting them along the way – teachers become coaches for the students by guiding and tweaking their learning with help from deep learning analytics.|
For Film and Media learners and educators of all ages and abilities, see how Quickclass is already delivering most of the Modern Learning System features mentioned in this article. Its now simpler than ever to reap all the benefits the digital age is bringing for a tailored and best education possible for every student.